After we moved, I took a contract office management job to keep us going and worked until one day, in my eighth month, I couldn't focus on the page in front of me. I called the OB, who then put me in the hospital. After Butterfly was born, I looked after my family, and Hubby went back to college to take upgrading courses to improve his chances of finding permanent employment.
There were other challenges during this time, but they weren't all that important to Butterfly's story except to say that when she was two, she suffered separation anxiety when I also took an upgrading course and attempted to work another contract job. There were a few reasons why that didn't work out; Butterfly was one of them. My working was better for our finances, but it soon became clear that caring for Butterfly was going to be my full-time job for awhile. I was still trying to figure out her needs and it was important to focus on that. Other care-givers did their best, but it was a hassle for them to have to prepare different foods for her and there was often cross-contamination. Butterfly was spending too much time in reaction and ill. Moreover, her problems weren't being properly explored and identified. I was simply needed at home.
One time she was on our bed which was on a cast iron bedstead, and she threw herself backward, without looking and with great force, missing the bedstead by scarcely an inch with her head. She got up and was about to do it again. I have never been so scared, before or since. I couldn't reach her to grab her. It was one of the few times I smacked her, but I dived for her and reached her bottom with one hand. She was wearing a diaper, but it was enough to get her attention. Her hands flew to her bottom and she moved closer as she cried out her indignation. I grabbed her and held on. Safe. She hadn't brained herself. Safe.
Another time she actually tried to push me down a flight of stairs. Fortunately I wasn't all that easy to push, especially for a little kid. I put my hand up to the wall to steady myself, then turned and told her to go first, in a tone and with a look that told her she just better. She passed me on the stairs with huge eyes. But I said nothing more. What was there to say or do, aside from keeping her out of reaction? Again, there was no shortage of opinions about disciplining Butterfly. I did, of course, for the usual kid mischief, when she wasn't in reaction. Time outs didn't work for her ~ she simply couldn't sit still for even two minutes. But denying her treats as a punishment made an impact, so that's the way I went.
So after these episodes, obviously, no more red candy. I went again to the allergist I'd conferred with about Butterfly's wheat allergy. He at least understood my Jekyl and Hyde problem with her, which in itself was a huge help. Having opinions and platitudes flying at me from all directions from the well-meaning but unknowing was just an added burden to an already perplexing situation. The allergist encouraged me to trust my own instincts and gave me a list of resources he thought would genuinely help us out. And they did. One of the most useful books I got hold of was Feingold's Diet and The Feingold Cookbook. These provided anecdotal stories I could relate to, a list of foods to be avoided with kids like mine, and recipes. These books were of tremendous value to all of us, especially when I was able to get hold of a used copy of the cookbook I could afford. It was this book that got me past even more spectacular failures in the kitchen, to a place where I could feed my child without making her ill or violent. And so we all struggled to find a diet and a balance that worked.